The United States government has warned its citizens against travelling to 16 states in Nigeria.
In a revised travel alert issued by the US State Department and dated January 8, 2014, the United States government advised its citizens to avoid all but essential travels to Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Gombe and Jigawa States.
The other states on the list, which the US said are prone to kidnappings, robberies and other armed attacks are Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.
Abia, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo and Rivers States, which were in an earlier list issued in June 2013, are not on the latest travel alert list.
The US described the security situation in Nigeria as “fluid and unpredictable” while warning against travel to the Gulf of Guinea because of the threat of piracy.
It also advised all US citizens to be particularly vigilant around government security facilities, “places of worship and locations where large crowds may gather”.
The statement added that “Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups."
It further stated that, “Boko Haram, an extremist group based in northeast Nigeria designated as a Foreign Terrorist organisation by the Department of State, has claimed responsibility for many attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria.”
According to the State Department, the Ansaru group, an offshoot of Boko Haram, has carried out several kidnappings targeting foreigners in Nigeria. It noted that the group also claimed responsibility for other violent acts in the past year.
The three North Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe have been under emergency rule after a presidential declaration on May 14, 2013, aimed at restoring safety and security due to insurgent activities in the area.